#InternationalMuseumDay2020; #Equality; Diversity; #Inclusion; #UNESCO; #ICOM
Paris (France), May 19 (Canadian-Media): International Museum Day (IMD) was observed this year on May 18 with the theme Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion, media reports said.
IOM. Image credit: Twitter handle
According to the official website of the International council of museums (ICOM), the aim of the theme chosen for IMD 2020 is to celebrate the diversity of viewpoints and overcoming the bias.
Since 1977 IMD has been observed each year with different themes.
In 2009 more than 90 countries with almost 20,000 museums participated in the IMD. In 2010 the number increased to 98, and in 2011, 100 countries joined the participation.
In 2011, the poster of the IMD was translated into 37 languages
In 2012, 129 countries with almost 30,000 museums participated in the IMD
Studies conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the ICOM, on the occasion of IMD 2020 revealed that COVID-19 pandemic has specially effected museums, with nearly 90 percent of them, or more than 85,000 museums having closed their doors for different lengths of time during the crisis.
UNESCO. Image credit: Twitter handle
In Africa and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), only 5 percent of museums could offer online content to their audiences. It is estimated that nearly 13 percent of museums around the world may never reopen.
Besides studying the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the museums, these two studies, involving Member States and museum professionals, also aimed at finding the adaptation of the museums to the pandemic and explore ways to support institutions in its aftermath.
“Museums play a fundamental role in the resilience of societies. We must help them cope with this crisis and keep them in touch with their audiences,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “This pandemic also reminds us that half of humanity does not have access to digital technologies. We must work to promote access to culture for everyone, especially the most vulnerable and isolated.”
Within the framework of its ResiliArt movement, UNESCO launched in mid-May a series of debates devoted to museums.
The first three debates, in partnership with Ibermuseums, will focus on the situation in the Ibero-American region and will explore strategies to support museums and professionals.
The ResiliArt movement aims to support artists during and after the COVID-19 crisis and to analyse the issues at stake, through high-level exchanges between international professionals from the cultural sphere.
The study conducted by ICOM highlighted that museums deprived of their visitors will face a decrease in their income. This would also seriously affect the professions related to museums, their operations and their outreach.
“We are fully aware of and confident in the tenacity of museum professionals to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ICOM President Suay Aksoy. “However, the museum field cannot survive on its own without the support of the public and private sectors. It is imperative to raise emergency relief funds and to put in place policies to protect professionals and self-employed workers on precarious contracts.”
Capacity building, social protection of museum staff, inventorying and digitization of collections, development of online content, technical assistance, Conservation of equipments in the laboratories, and the mobilization of resources are some of the priorities mentioned in the UNESCO study.
The notable increase of museums worldwide by almost 60 percent since 2012 to some 95,000 institutions revealed by the UNESCO study is a proof of the importance of museum sector in national cultural policies over the past decade.
However, wide disparities are revealed by the study with Africa and Small Island Developing States together accounting for only 1.5 percent of the total number of museums worldwide.
These findings are a stark reminder of the latest report published in December 2019, on the implementation by its Member States of the 2015 UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society.
The fundamental role that museums play in education and the dissemination of culture is underlined by UNESCO in terms of social solidarity as well as supporting the local and regional creative economy.
The full results of these two studies will soon be published by UNESCO and ICOM and will continue their collaboration to support museums worldwide, with the help of Member States and networks of museum professionals.